Monday, June 18, 2018

TDR Program

GOALS: (1) Preserve farmland and farming; (2) Redirect housing to areas of existing residential development, parcels too small for most farming, and poorest soils; (3) Provide voluntary, market-driven, criteria-based alternative to 1-per-35 splits.

SENDING AREAS (areas from which development rights may be transferred): (1) Created through overlay zoning and conservation restrictions (see below); (2) Located in planned Agriculture Preservation Area and zoned Exclusive Agriculture; (3) Have unused splits remaining; (4) Not in Middleton growth area by intergovernmental agreement; (5) Meet criteria based on soils, proximity to livestock operations, existing development restrictions, parks and conservancy lands, etc.  Strong performance against criteria can result in Super Sending Area designation to achieve higher transfer ratios—see below.

CONSERVATION RESTRICTIONS: (1) Deed restriction or conservation easement recorded against sending area property; (2) Possibility of future removal very limited; (3) Need not use up all remaining splits/development rights; (4) Conservation easement option may be funded from developers, government grants, non-profit land trusts.

RECEIVING AREAS (areas to which development rights are transferred): (1) Support wastewater treatment systems; (2) Meet lot size standards; (3) Rezoned to residential and overlay zoning districts; and (4) Meet Town Plan neighborhood design standards.  A high ranking against criteria can result in Super Receiving Area designation. Three types of receiving areas with different development right transfer ratios:

  • Type 1 Neighborhood Development, 1:1 development rights-to-homes ratio, unless it is Super Receiving Area or transfers from a Super Sending Area (2:1 ratio), transaction involves both Super Sending Area and Super Receiving Area (4:1); both SSA/SRA plus <2 acre average lot size (5:1).
  • Type 2 Sub-35 Acre Lot Development, 1:1 development rights-to-homes ratio, unless transaction involves both a Super Sending Area and Super Receiving Area (2:1).
  • Type 3 Farm-to-Farm 1:1 Transfer, within maximum 2/35 density in receiving area.


(1) Developer and development rights seller work with Town to determine splits on sending area and complete criteria worksheet;
(2) Concept Plan review from Town Plan Commission;
(3) Developer secures option to purchase development rights;
(4) Rezoning and land division approval process; and
(5) Complete development rights transaction and record conservation restrictions against sending area property.